When Everard Grant entered the Marine Corps right out of high school in the 1960s, he planned to make the military his career.
A land mine in Vietnam altered that career path, but it didn't change the resolve of Mr. Grant - now an Augusta mail carrier - to dedicate his life to service and country, in spite of a partially amputated leg.
"My situation is just a little matter of inconvenience is all," Mr. Grant said. "I don't believe it gives me the right to just sit back."
And he doesn't.
His 22-mile mail route in east Augusta is one of the city's largest. He says the two to three miles he walks each day on the job are a welcome reprieve from the years he spent behind a desk in civil engineering jobs throughout the South.
In the seven years he has worked for the Augusta post office, Mr. Grant says, he has learned that carrying customers' letters and packages is only part of his job.
"Not only do we deliver the mail, I guess you could say we're in the people business," he said.
While other neighborhoods in the city might be seeing less mail with the advent of the computer and e-mail technology, Mr. Grant believes the aging population of the community he serves off Sand Bar Ferry and East Boundary roads relies heavily on his services.
He tries to accommodate residents' needs as much as possible - whether it's providing a stamp in place of a stack of coins or dropping off mail at a neighbor's house when someone is out of town.
"It's almost like a part of an extended family, you get to know them so well," he said of his route.
His customers know him as "Grant" and say he's polite and friendly when delivering mail to their homes.
Less known, perhaps, is that he is one of two Purple Heart recipients working for Augusta's post office. The combat decoration is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who are wounded or killed in action, and earlier this summer Augusta Postmaster James Sizemore presented Mr. Grant with a special Purple Heart commemorative stamp for both his service in the military and his service with the post office.
"He seems to be a very courteous person, and he does show concern for his job," said Thelma Williams, a Cherry Avenue resident and customer of Mr. Grant. "He speaks to me and calls me by my name when I'm working in the yard."
Mr. Grant says he's simply abiding by the golden rule.
"As a human being, you would want somebody to treat you the way you expect to be treated," he said. "That's the kind of relationship I would like to think the people on our route think we have."
OCCUPATION: Letter carrier
FAMILY: Wife, Kathleen; two sons, Everard IV, 23; and Joshua, 22
MILITARY: Corporal in the Marine Corps, Purple Heart recipient, wounded duringthe Vietnam War, 1968
HOBBIES: Golf and working in the yard of his Evans home
QUOTE: "I wish more pe